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18 April 2014 / 18 Nisan 5774

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Issue 984
Issue 984- Shabbat Parshat Vaychi - Chazak
January 08, 2012
Lead Tidbits
Sedra Stats

B'haalot'cha stats

36th of the 54 sedras;
3rd of 10 in B’midbar

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Guest Article

Highway to Heaven

“And when Yaakov made an end of charging his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and expired, and was gathered unto his people” (B’reishit 49:33).
Death in the Bible is described as “the way of all the earth.” (see Yehoshua 23:14; Melachim Alef 2:2). If a person knows when he is about to die, he can set his affairs in order, bid farewell to his dear ones, and make peace with God. In the Jewish tradition, to recite the confession of sins (vidui) before death is considered especially meritorious. The word “expired” in the text, say the commentators, is used only of the righteous and implies death in a moment without pain or delay.

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Guest Article

The Knesset Kolumn

Yaakov Avinu gathers his sons at the end of his life to bless them. However, many of his statements to his sons seem to be rebuke and not blessings. The most classic example is what he says to Shimon and Levi. He talks about their violent tendencies and the need to separate them. How is is this a blessing in any way?
Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch focuses on two words which Yaakov uses in this rebuke to explain how they are truly a blessing for the Jewish people. Yaakov says, ACHALKEIM B’YAA- KOV - I will divide them in Jacob, V’AFITZEIM B’YISRAEL - and I will separate them in Israel. Rav Hirsch explains that ACHALKEIM means dividing something in a way which does not diminish the original force of the object. ACHALKEIM means dispersing them to significantly reduce the original power. JACOB refers to the Jewish people while in exile while ISRAEL describes the Jewish people in Israel. While in exile, religious zealotry and even violence serves a very important purpose. Zealots can serve as an example to the rest of the nation regarding the need to serve G-D despite the persecution, and violence can help in fighting our enemies. Thus, while in exile as captured by IN JACOB, Yaakov said that Shimon and Levi will be DIVIDED. They will be spread among the people with their original force intact to inspire them to continue serving G-D and even fight back against our enemies. However, once we are IN ISRAEL, Yaakov says AFITZEIM, they must be separated without their power intact. Their zealotry and violence will only hurt the Jewish people and, therefore, the ultimate blessing is for them to not be together and exercise zero power.

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Aliya-by-Aliya Sedra Summary

Aliya by Aliya Sedra Summary

Kohen - First Aliya 13 p’sukim - 47:28-48:9
[47:28 (4) part of the parsha at the end of Vayigash] The sedra begins with Yaakov at age 147, having been in Mitzrayim for 17 years. (Remember that Yosef was 17 when the trouble started. Interesting, no?) The Torah tells us that Yaakov is near death and Yosef is called to his bedside. Yaakov asks Yosef that he (Yaakov) should not be buried in Egypt but rather in Me’arat HaMachpeila. Yosef agrees; Yaakov asks Yosef to swear to it.
SDT: Why would Yaakov insist that Yosef swear - didn’t he trust him? Among other reasons, the oath might prove necessary in obtaining permission from Par’o for the funeral. Even if Par’o would have been inclined to say “no”, he would respect an oath. This, according to Midrash, because Yosef had sworn not to divulge a particular secret about Par’o (that he, Yosef, knew more languages than Par’o - a fact that would not impress Par’o's subjects favorably). Par’o could not say to Yosef, “I don’t care what promises you made”, etc.

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Lead Tidbit

When will we learn?!?

Vayeishev - Yosef’s brothers are jealous of him. The jealousy led to hatred. The hatred led to plotting against Yosef. Kill him. No, dump him in a deep pit. No, sell him to a passing caravan. Yaakov’s grief, Yosef’s experiences. Yosef still in prison.
Mikeitz - Yosef taken from prison and elevated to viceroy of Egypt. Famine. Yosef’s brothers go down to Egypt. Go back to Canaan. Go down to Egypt. Yosef’s guiding events. Binyamin on the block.

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Guest Article

Word of the Month

A weekly feature of Torah Tidbits to help clarify practical and conceptual aspects of the Jewish Calendar, thereby better fulfilling the mitzva of haChodesh HaZeh Lachem…

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Other Tidbits
Towards Better Davening and Torah Reading

Towards Better Davening and Torah Reading

BIRKAT HABANIM
In Parshat Vaychi, Yaakov blesses Yosef’s sons and he announces that this will be the standard blessing of (grand)fathers for their (grand)sons throughout the generations.
Therefore, the following is not just a note for BKs [Baalei K’ri’a, Torah readers] and those who want to fine- tune their Hebrew pronunciation, but it is for all people who bless their male progeny on Leil Shabbat.
Y’SI-M’CHA ELOKIM K’EFRAIM V’CHI’MENASHE

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Divrei Menachem

Divrei Menachem

In this week’s parsha the ailing Ya’akov tells Yosef that, “Your two sons born to you in Egypt… shall be mine; Efrayim and Menashe shall be mine like Reuven and Shimon” (B’reishit 48:5). Most commentators suggest that this declaration refers to the parity of portions of Eretz Yisra’el that the two sons would later inherit despite their being born in Egypt.

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ParshaPix Explanations

Parsha Pix

Lock & chain in upper left is for the “super-closed” nature of the beginning of VAYCHI (see Sedra Summary for details)
The bed is mentioned more than once at the beginning of the sedra
The crossed hands are Yaakov’s, as he put his right hand on Efrayim’s head and his left on Menashe’s. It should not escape our attention that the Book of B’reishit is FILLED with firstborn-second child issues. Kayin and Hevel. Yishmael and Yitzchak, Yaakov and Eisav, Yosef and his brothers. Reuven on the one hand and Levi, Yehuda, and Yosef on the other. Peretz and Zerach. Efrayim and Menashe

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"From Machon Puah"

Supervision - The Practice

After looking at the halachic basis for supervision of fertility treatments we will now move to the actual practicalities of how supervision is performed.
Even though each laboratory has similar elements, each one is built differently and has certain unique methods of working and of use of equipment. Therefore, a careful inspection of the lab has to be performed prior to any supervision being carried out. The embryologists must discuss how they work and how they can accommodate the supervisor in the laboratory.

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Parsha Points to Ponder

Parsha Points to Ponder

1) Why does the Torah relate that Yaakov called TO HIS SON TO YOSEF (47:29)? We already know that Yosef is his son so why the extra words TO HIS SON?
2) Yaakov PLACED EFRAYIM BEFORE MENASHE with a preferential blessing (48:20). Where do we see this take hold in terms of Efrayim having anything over Menashe?
3) Why does the Torah relate that ALL THESE ARE THE TRIBES OF ISRAEL after Yaakov blesses them (49:28)? Don’t we already know that these are his twelve sons?

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Chizuk and Idud

CHIZUK and IDUD for Olim not yet Olim respectively

And I have given you one portion above your brothers, which I took out of the hand of the Amorites with my sword and with my bow [b’charbi uvkashti]. B’reishit 48:22.
Onkelos, the first century translator of the Torah into Aramaic, departs from his standard approach of translating the verses literally, and renders “b’charbi u’v’kashti’ as “with my prayers and entreaties”, following the Talmudic rendering of the verse:
Did Yaakov indeed take it with his sword and bow, is it not written [T’hilim 44:7] “For I trust not in my bow, neither can my sword save me?” Rather “charbi” means prayer and “kashti” means entreaty. Talmud Bavli Bava Batra 123a

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Wisdom & Wit

Wisdom and Wit

In Warsaw, before World War II, there was a religious Yiddish daily. Next to the date at the top of the masthead, there appeared the listing of the Daf Yomi. It so happened that the editor of the newspaper erred, and on the day following the listing for Chagiga 27 they printed “Chagiga 28” and on the following day the listing was “Chagiga 29.” As Chagiga only has 27 folio pages, that was a clear error.

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In This Issue of Torah Tidbits

Candle Lighting and Havdala

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Sedra Stats

36th of the 54 sedras;
3rd of 10 in B’midbar

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Word of the Month